Fly fishing for steelhead on the Clearwater River, Idaho -- Shaking hands with the Planet

A good mend to the leader sets my line up for a perfect swing through a section of water where I saw some ‘finning’ on my last cast. “I may have a player,” I say to myself. A slight ’S’ starts to form in the line as it continues to swing the fly through anticipating waters. Then a stop, the line straightens as I lift the rod tip slightly to test for fish or snag. Not a snag! I feel the fish turn and dive just before I experience the explosive power of the Steelhead. A rhythmic, pulsing tug pulls line off of the reel for three distinct beats followed by a long violent run as line peels off the singing reel. I start to cup the reel with my left hand to provide a little more drag, “Don’t horse it, let it run,” I’m telling myself. Instantly the line knifes through of the water tightening to a direct connect to the rising fish. An explosion of water, an uncontrolled “Ya Hoo!” and the quiet stillness of the Clearwater comes alive with man and fish. “How do You do?” races through my mind as I shake hands with the planet. The fight is on, the outcome is uncertain. “The Tug is the Drug” is a common slogan on the Clearwater: I’m hooked.

Nothing seems to connect the outdoorsman more than experiencing hand to hand combat with the forces of nature. Life changing, character building events occur when engaged with the uncertainty of the out of doors.

Come to the Clearwater, shake hands with the planet and experience the forces of nature. Book a steelhead fishing trip with Clearwater River Company, LLC ( or phone 1-866-846-4240). You won’t regret the time spent on the water with our great guides and hooking into these uniquely powerful fish.

Authored by Ed Pitcher. Picture by Aaron Hale.